Most UTSA fans are in agreement that the Alamodome is a fantastic venue for college football. Its centralized location is easy to get to, parking isn't too much of an issue, and its proximity to downtown San Antonio is a perfect scenario for visiting fans.
While the Dome is a pretty sweet deal for a Conference USA program like UTSA, its 65,000 seat capacity is much, much larger than the Roadrunners will ever need for the foreseeable future. With 30,000 empty seats laying around, the atmosphere in the Dome can feel... cavernous at times.
In an effort to combat the feeling of playing football in an empty warehouse, UTSA's administration has taken the advice of several fans and boosters to begin sealing off the upper levels of the Alamodome until the lower level has sold out. The capacity of the lower and club levels of the Alamodome is a combined 36,582, a perfect size for a group of five program in my opinion.
Closing the upper level of the Alamodome will also give UTSA a nice reduction in their game day expenses as they will no longer need to staff ushers, security, or concession stands in the 300 level.
Per an email from the athletics department, had this policy been in place since day one of Roadrunner football, the upper level would have only needed to be opened for three games: the inaugural game against Northeastern Oklahoma State, the rivalry match up against Texas State, and UTSA's first ever nationally-televised home game against Oklahoma State.
The next step for UTSA should be to convince the City of San Antonio to invest in a large drape that hides the upper level of the Alamodome from TV cameras similar to the one used when the Spurs played in the Alamodome in the 80s.
Currently a few hundred to a couple thousand fans sit in the upper levels on gamedays. While a small number, it does take away from the aesthetic of having a huge group of closely-knit fans decked out in blue and orange amassed in the Dome.
Some of these fans that choose to sit in the upper level are season ticket holders, which makes this change a little bit more controversial. In hindsight, UTSA probably wishes that they wouldn't have ever allowed season tickets to be available in the upper level as they're now in a prickly public relations situation.
UTSA has informed upper level season ticket holders that they will be able to purchase season tickets at the club level for the same price as their current upper level tickets in 2016. I have not heard if those prices will be honored in future seasons past 2016, although I'm certain they will be subject to price fluctuations just as any other seats in the Alamodome.
While I personally feel that UTSA is being more than generous in handling the situation in order to ensure a better game day production for all fans, some may feel upset that their season ticket seat locations have been taken from them. Fans that have sat in the same seat for all five seasons of UTSA football may feel a certain emotional attachment to the spot where they watched Eric Soza sprint in the first touchdown in UTSA history or marveled at Kenny Harrison's punt return touchdown against Texas State. I could also understand season ticket holders feeling bitter about being left out of the conversation regarding the status of the upper level.
All in all, I feel that this was a smart move for UTSA although I'm curious to see if there will be any fallout from upper-level season ticket holders. Please leave me with your thoughts in the poll and comment section below.